Types of Public Schools in North Carolina

Explanation of Types of Public Schools in North Carolina

Note: All of the school types below are public schools, in that they are funded primarily through public tax dollars.

  • Regular School: a public school that students are assigned to attend because they live in the school's attendance area or attendance zone. Such schools are sometimes called “zoned schools,” “neighborhood schools” or “ZIP code schools,” and are normally only open for enrollment to students from a predetermined set of neighborhoods or ZIP codes. Regular schools are by far the most common type of school in the Charlotte area.
  • Magnet School: a public school that provides unique or specialized curriculum. Magnet schools differ from regular public schools in that they offer specialized academic themes, such as math & science, the arts, foreign languages and so on. Magnet schools are usually open to students well outside of their immediate geographic location. Unlike charter schools, magnet schools are normally not completely independent, and receive their funding from the school system in the city or county in which they operate.
  • Alternative School: a school that serves students at any level, serves suspended or expelled students, serves students whose learning styles are better served in an alternative program, or a school that provides individualized programs outside of a standard classroom setting.
  • Charter School: a tuition-free, public school created on the basis of a license or “charter” made with the State Board of Education. Charter schools typically have greater freedom than traditional public schools in personnel policies, curriculum and teaching philosophy. In return, they must make a commitment to meet state standards of accountability. Charter schools are also normally open to students from counties and towns outside of where they are located. Enrollment decisions at charter schools are often lottery-based, with special consideration given to siblings of currently enrolled students.

Best Schools in Charlotte, NC Area
School Rankings

Charlotte, NC &
Surrounding Counties

Find information on the best schools in Charlotte and surrounding areas - including Mecklenburg County, the Lake Norman area, Union County, Cabarrus County and more.

Charlotte Schools

Use CarolinaSchoolHub to find rankings, test scores, student enrollment data and more for 492 public schools in Charlotte and its North Carolina suburbs. Get information you need to help make informed decisions regarding your child's education.

Best Elementary Schools in Charlotte, NC Area

Best Elementary Schools

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Best Middle Schools in Charlotte, NC Area

Best Middle Schools

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Best High Schools in Charlotte, NC Area

Ten-Star High Schools

(sorted alphabetically)

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Best Charter Schools in Charlotte, NC Area

Best Charter Schools

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Best School Districts Around Charlotte, NC

Top School Systems

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*Note: We compared 13 Charlotte-area school systems, as well as a composite of 20 local charter schools. The composite of charter schools was included for comparison purposes, to make 14 total systems. However, it should be noted that charter schools are not part of a true school system. Each charter school is independently managed.

Charlotte NC School Rankings

CarolinaSchoolHub offers locally-focused information on schools in the greater Charlotte region. We provide ratings on 492 schools in nine counties in the Charlotte area including 13 county or city school districts, and 20 local charter schools. You can use this web site to find rankings of the best schools in Charlotte, NC and surrounding towns.

CarolinaSchoolHub's mission is to help parents make informed decisions regarding their children's education. We suggest that parents use our independent rankings as a starting point for understanding Charlotte-area schools - rather than as a definitive guide regarding which school will be best for their child. Each child is an individual, and each family's needs are unique. In addition, differences in test scores, graduation rates and other standardized data can sometimes be very small from one school to the next within a given list of ranked schools. With this in mind, we suggest that parents use our rankings as one of many data points they use to evaluate which school in the Charlotte area is the right fit for their child.

Greater Charlotte Metro Area
Best Elementary Schools
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Best Charter Schools
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